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Canada Growing More Popular for Wealthy Chinese Immigrants

Canada is the second most popular destination for wealthy Chinese citizens who want to emigrate, a new survey has found.

Canada Growing More Popular for Wealthy Chinese Immigrants

The annual Huran Report poll placed Canada above Britain for the first time, while the U.S. remains the favoured country for millionaires from the Far East country.

The survey also found that half of the population of China is considering or planning to leave, meaning Canada should expect the continued inflow of Chinese investment, particularly in real estate.

Huron Report Survey: Top 4 Countries for Chinese Immigrants

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Britain
  4. Australia

More than 300 Chinese people with a net worth between $1.9 million and $38 million were asked questions as part of the survey.

Canadian cities also rose in the rankings, despite efforts to cool real estate markets by imposing a foreign buyer tax.

Vancouver was the number one preferred Canadian city to emigrate to and buy property, coming in at number five on the overall list, up 6.3 per cent on 2016.

Toronto, meanwhile, is the second most popular in Canada, and eighth on the overall list, up 4.7 per cent on 2016.

Huron Report Survey: Top 10 Destinations for Chinese Immigrants

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Seattle
  3. San Francisco
  4. New York
  5. Vancouver
  6. Boston
  7. Melbourne
  8. Toronto
  9. New Zealand
  10. Sydney

Both cities have attempted to cool their out-of-control housing markets with foreign buyer taxes. However, the latest survey results suggest this has not had a big impact on the appetite of wealthy Chinese candidates.

The just under half who said they were considering or planning to move is actually lower than previous years, when the figure was up to 60 per cent.

That makes the 2017 result the lowest on record, but, as Huran Report chairman Rupert Hoogewerf pointed out, it is still not low.

Education was the overwhelming reason cited for wanting to leave (76 per cent), closely followed by living environment (64 per cent). Pollution is a major problem in several major Chinese cities.

The diminishing value of the yuan was also a key factor, with 86 per cent of respondents saying it was a concern.

Quebec Immigrant Investor Program

One of the most popular ways for wealthy Chinese candidates to achieve Canada immigration is through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP).

To qualify for QIIP, candidates must have a legally acquired net worth of $1.6 million. Candidates must also investment $800,000 into a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years bearing no interest.

Although candidates must declare their intent to reside in Quebec, one of the rights of Canadian permanent residency is free movement around the country.

This has created controversy, with many believing high-net worth Chinese candidates access the country through QIIP, but choose to settle in Vancouver or Toronto.

QIIP: Requirements

  • Legally acquired personal net worth of at least $1.6 million;
  • Owned and operated a business or held a high-level management position in a private company, government or NGO for two of the previous five years;
  • Invest $800,000 in a passive government guaranteed investment for a period of five years and receive no interest. Applicants may finance their investment and liquidate only $180,000 to $220,000 into a government approved financing program for five years and receive no return of capital.
  • Intend to settle in the province of Quebec.

Critics argue that while Quebec benefits from the investment dollars, other provinces like British Columbia and Ontario are left to deal with the impact of wealthy migrants on its economy.

This impact can be both positive and negative, with the wealthy spending more on luxury goods while at the same time using public health and education services and playing a key role in driving up house prices.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals could go some way to resolving the issue by forming a new investment immigration program of its own and reclaim its position as the dominant player in the industry, while at the same time boosting Canada’s economy.

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Until 2014, the federal government gave entry-level millionaires a pathway to residency and ultimately, citizenship through its Canada Immigrant Investor Program (CIIP). The scheme operated largely on the interest income earned from investors’ funds. The program benefits to Canada peaked during the 1990s, when interest rates were high.

The program was terminated under much controversy in 2014 by the previous government which, despite compelling favourable studies, claimed it provided no benefit to Canada. It was replaced in February 2015 with an unpopular Immigrant Investors Venture Capital Pilot Program (IIVCP) which Canada’s current Ambassador to China, John McCallum has publicly stated, while Minister of Immigration, is practically non-existent due to the lack of interest from international investors.

Wealthy applicants to Canada currently face a limited number of residence pathways to Canada.  A growing number are gaining admission by purchasing a Canadian business which, under the right conditions, can lead to a work visa and residence for their family.

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